Patrick Kavanagh

Irish poet

Patrick Kavanagh (21 October 1904 – 30 November 1967) was an Irish poet and novelist.

Patrick Kavanagh statue along the Grand Canal in Dublin



I do not know what age I am,
I am no mortal age;
I know nothing of women,
Nothing of cities,
I cannot die
Unless I walk outside these whitethorn hedges.

Stony Grey SoilEdit

Mullahinsa, Drummeril, Black Shanco-
Wherever I turn I see
In the stony grey soil of Monaghan
Dead loves that were born for me.

On Raglan RoadEdit

O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.


I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.

Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, DublinEdit

O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water, preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
Commemorate me thus beautifully
Where by a lock niagarously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
Of mid-July.


Tarry Flynn (1948)Edit

  • The headlands and the hedges were so fresh and wonderful, so gay with the dawn of the world. Tarry never tired looking at these ordinary things as he tired of the Mass and of religion. In a dim way he felt that he was not a Christian. In the god of Poetry he found a God more important to him than Christ. His god had never accepted Christ.
  • They were both more than twenty-seven in those enthusiastic years of nineteen hundred and thirty-five, yet neither had as much as ever kissed a girl. Not that kissing was much in favour in that district. Reading about lovers kissing, Tarry often reflected on the fact that he had never seen anyone kissing anyone, except poor old Peter Toole whom he once saw kissing a corpse in a wakehouse in the hope of getting a couple of glasses of whiskey.
  • Outside the door a group of men stood whispering while the less solemn parts of the Mass were being said. These men stared about them at the rolling country of little hills and commented on the crops, the weather, the tombstones or whatever came into their dreaming minds.
    'Very weedy piece of spuds, them of Mick Finnegan's.'
    'He doesn't put on the dung, Larry: the man that doesn't drive on the dung won't take out a crop.' A pause, 'Nothing like the dung.'
  • With women in general he was truthful and sincere and would talk philosophy or Canon Law (Canon Law fascinated him, though what he knew of the subject was utter nonsense) to them on the slightest provocation. Women cannot understand honesty in a man.
  • In country places a single word is inflected to mean a hundred things, so that only a recording of the sounds gives an idea of the speech of these people.
  • 'I was talking to one of the McArdles there and I was telling him that he ought to be getting a women. "Huh," says he, "what would I be doing with a woman? I have me pint and me fag," says he, "and I'm not going to bring in a woman.'"
  • 'Begod there's a powerful piece of turnips'
  • 'I always say to these here, marry the first man that asks you. There's only three classes of men a woman should never marry - a delicate man, a drunken man, and a lazy man. I'm not so sure that the lazy man isn't the worst.'

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